Driver's age played part in fatal crash

Inquest delivers verdict

An inquest has found an 89-year-old man's age and declining health 'had a part to play' in a fatal car crash last year.

Derek Brown was driving the vehicle when it ploughed through a bus shelter in Laxey on 24 July, killing him and three elderly passengers.

Coroner of Inquests John Needham recorded a verdict of accidental death for all four at Douglas Courthouse earlier today.

The inquest heard how Mr Brown, his wife Joyce, 81, Kathleen Garrett, 84, and Marie Gordon, 81, were traveling down Pinfold Hill shortly before 9am, when his blue Volkswagen Polo lost control.

Witnesses described the vehicle traveling 'at speed' before it drove straight through the bus shelter opposite Fairy Cottage, and into an adjacent stone wall.

Mr Brown and Mrs Garrett were pronounced dead at the scene, and the other two passed away later that day in hospital.

Neither of the rear passengers had been wearing seatbelts.

Doctors acknowledged that Mr Brown had suffered a long history of health complaints, but overall, he had not been considered unfit to drive.

Though a range of possible causes were given by investigators - including Mr Brown fainting at the wheel - the exact cause of the fatal collision was not made clear.

Mr Needham thanked members of the public who stopped to help at the scene, and will be making recommendations to ministers on improving road safety for older residents.

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